From the Prairie lands to the Badlands, Nostalgia was alive at the Holiday Inn in Portsmouth this week as stars came to help celebrate the Roy Rogers Festival.
Along with Rogers’ family members Dodie Rogers Patterson and Julie Fox Pomilia, stars such as Alison Arngrim and Rachel Lindsay Greenbush of Little House on the Prairie fame, as well as Paul Peterson from the Donna Reed Show were on hand signing autographs for attendees. Locals attending included famed Major League Baseball star Al Oliver, author Del Duduit, and local singing talent Steve Free.
Roy Rogers, whose boyhood home still stands in McDermott near Northwest High School, became known as King of the Cowboys after the family moved to California in 1931. Rogers had a long and fruitful career in the movies, but according to his grand daughter Julie Fox Pomilia, he never forgot about his roots back home in Ohio.
“It really is special to the family” Pomilia said of the festival in her grandfather’s name. “It just feels good to know that so many other people were touched by their [Rogers and his wife] lives.”
Polmilia said the image her father portrayed on the screen was who he was. She said that image is timeless and hopes people can go back to those values and morals. “It’s refreshing to come to a place like this and talk about him and grandma and the impacts they made,” Pomilia said. “There’s so much negativity in the news it nice to finally bring in some positive.”
One of the organizers for the annual event says the attendance was up this year over last year. Adam Jones said with a day and a half left Friday afternoon that he is excited about the ending of this year’s festival. “We’re just really pleased with the attendance.”
Thursday afternoon, the main attraction was that of Allison Arngrim who is most famous for the role of Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie. Arngrim said she enjoyed spending time with the people in Portsmouth. She also spoke briefly of her co stars on the show mentioning some by name and how they played their roles. Some of the older stars from the hit show are now deceased, but she said many are still very active.
Beside Little House on the Prairie, Arngrim has had roles on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and is currently doing stand up comedy and has authored a book.
Her co-star on Little House on the Prairie, Rachel Lindsay Greenbush, played Carrie, the youngest child in the Ingals family with her identical twin sister Sidney Robyn Greenbush. Greenbush was a hit as well signing autographs and talking to whoever wanted to take the time to chat. In addition to Little House on the Prairie, Greenbush had roles on Matt Houston and Hillie and Hambone. Both sisters are now showing horses and competing.
Greenbush said she has really enjoyed talking to people at the festival. She said she likes doing events such as the Roy Rogers Festival where she gets to meet and talk to so many people.
Being a child star made her “grow up really fast,” Greenbush said. “But there were times you got to be a kid…It was a blended mix. A very unique experience….It was a great experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”